Pike Place Market

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The first sunny weekend in Seattle. Which meant Pike Place Market shopping and playing tourist with my mom. Sunshine, lots of happy people and fresh fruit and vegetables, lots of people with cameras out capturing the moment.

IMG_3445 This stuff on a warm bagel with some tea is the perfect breakfast.

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When peonies are in season, there’s nothing quite as beautiful that you can buy for your house. And when they aren’t in season, I have 3/4 of an arm of them to keep to keep me company.

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Reading Notes: House of Leaves

House of Leaves is a story about a movie featuring the Navidson family about a house bigger on the inside than on the outside (that also changes and adds subtracts things to itself) written by a man called Zampano but heavily footnoted and prefaced by Johnny Truant.

It’s strange to pick up a book tells you dramatically on its first page “This is not for you.”

Reading Notes: House of Leaves

The story leads in with Johnny Truant telling us, after the fact, how harrowing of an experience this all continues to be for him and reminiscing about what would have happened if he had never had a crazy landlord who kicked him out of his apartment (lucky for him, the landlord burned down the apartment shortly after), leading him to meet Zampano.

It’s pretty clear early on that Johnny Truant is an unreliable narrator, but I still really like his 3-page footnotes – he’s a character and I appreciate that. He tells interesting stories even though I don’t believe them to be 100% true. The most compelling parts of the story, of course, are about the house and the Navidson family who is recording their experience within it. Reading about their relationships and seeing their family change as the house changes is keeping me reading.

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The best passage I’ve run across so far (about 70 pages into the book itself and all the way through the second appendix) is about the relationship between Narcissus and Echo.

Myth makes Echo the subject of longing and desire. Physics makes Echo the subject of distance and design. Where emotion and reason are concerned both claims are accurate.

And where there is no Echo there is no description of space or love.

There is only silence.

In that same section about Echo, Narcissus says to Echo “May I die before I give you power over me (Emoriar, quam sit tibi copia nostri)” to which Echo cleverly responds “I give you power over me (Sit tibi copia nostri).” In a second exchange, Echo is asked “Chi dara fine al gran dolore (Who will put an end to this great sadness)?” and responds with “L’ore (The hours passing).”

I couldn’t stop talking about my theories about what Truant is, what the house is/means and it somehow inspired my best friend to read along with me. After he read the passages on Echo, he mused that sit tibi copia nostri is far better than saying ‘I love you’ because it’s more precise.

The more I read the book, the more that its themes layer. Echo is a great example of this. The book has a few small references to Echo very early on, then the above quoted text. A bit further in, Navidson explores a hallway that has appeared in the house with his recording equipment and a flashlight, I believe. As he gets to the end of the hallway, he notices that it is perfectly silent and when he comes to this realization, he hears a growl and realizes that he needs to find his way out. It is a voice that brings him back, his wife, he thinks, but it ends up being his daughter. The next day, they have the following exchange.

“Come play with me Daddy.”
Navidson lifts his daughter onto his lap.
“Okay. What do you want to play?”
“I don’t know,” she shrugs. “Always.”
“What’s always?”
But before she can answer, he starts tickling her around the neck and Daisy dissolves into bursts of delight.

Despite the tremendous amount of material generated by Exploration A, no one has ever commented on the game Daisy wants to play with her father, perhaps because everyone assumes it is either a request “to play always” or just a childish neologism.

Then again, “always” slightly mispronounces “hallways.”
It also echoes it.

In the appendix of letters written by Truant’s mother while she was committed until she died, she wrote to him in Old English, Latin, Greek, French and Spanish. One of the sentences she repeated most (in both Latin and English) is “Non sum qualis eram,” meaning I am not what I used to be.

In the middle of the Navidson-exploring-the-hallway section, Johnny Truant has another one of his 3-page footnotes where it seems like he is also being hunted/pursued by the same growl and darkness that Navidson encountered. He ends his encounter with a strange nonsensical sentence: “Known some call is air am.” This is the phonetically written out version of “non sum qualis eram.”

Because of the strong focus on mythologies, I’m hoping that the house is the literal manifestation of the minotaur and the labyrinth myth, or even better, a manifestation of hell wherein Navidson has to get past the minotaur to get to the Seventh Circle (as posited by Dante in the Inferno).

The Last Bookstore

IMG_3263I can now cross this place off of my bucket list.

The Last Bookstore is a sprawling book selling/art-creating destination. They sell new books, old books, $1 books – all while surrounding you with art, artist studios where you can see artists working and lots of weird spaces. I love weird bookstores, bookstores with history. And let’s be honest, I just really love piling up books (even if it will take me some time to get to them).

I was quite taken with their shelf dedicated to only Los Angeles authors.

IMG_3265Parts of the bookstore were a little creepy. Perhaps it was that I walked in so close to closing time, but deciding to walk through a maze-like gallery took more nerve than I like admitting. It sounded like the start of a horror movie – and I already hate horror movies.

The Last Bookstore // Art II

 

Obligatory artsy photo of our reflection in the balcony window pane of an artist workshop. It is a shame I did not think to photograph the artists name, but the inside of their studio was quite strange and appealing – like the inside of a Penny Dreadful episode (is anyone else watching that?)

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Over the last few months, I’ve listened to MØ (actual name Karen Marie) more than any other group or individual. Every song on “No Mythologies to Follow” is one I like, but there are quite a few I love. This show was the first time the artist was in Seattle and she played at the first-closed-but-then-gloriously-reopened Crocodile venue.

The album features quite a few upbeat songs (think of Grimes) but balances it out with ‘night versions’ of some of the upbeat songs that re-do the music composition and the lyrics (think of Lykke Li’s second album).

We had dinner at Local 360, whose mantra is that they only source food from within 360 miles of Seattle. It was our first time going and the food was amazing, but the feel of the place was just perfect for a warm summer day.

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A new-to-me artist, Erik Hassle, started off the show. He played an altogether too-short set – I quite liked his music (and looked him up after the show). I fell in love with the song “Pathetic.”

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The show itself was action-packed and Karen Marie danced from the first song to the last, often times literally in the audience or on top of the audience (she crowd-surfed while signing from the last third of the show). I admit I’m a little too used to sitting during a show or standing without moving much – this was not that show. The band and Karen Marie were so enthusiastic & energetic that it spread – I jumped during most of the songs, yelled the lyrics and danced when I wasn’t jumping. I tried so hard to grab good photos and videos, but for the most part, it all looked like a blur.

I also struck up conversation with the person sitting next to me who had a very impressive camera setup for the show, Kirk Stauffer. He was shooting for Backbeat Seattle that night and I can’t wait to see the shots he got (I imagine they were much less blurry than mine).

Griffith Observatory

IMG_3252If you have a Google phone, it sometimes tells you “oh – you’re near somewhere cool, if you, like, wanna go” (but in slightly less Valley Girl style). It did this with the Griffith Observatory on the second to last day of the California trip. On a whim, we decided to go.

The observatory is breathtaking. Each detail of the building is designed with great intention but somehow, it doesn’t feel over-designed. It is perched on a hill among hills, with a gorgeous view of the famed Hollywood sign and, more interestingly, of the whole city. With the observatory acting as ‘the sun’ there are gold inlays in the pavement around it to represent the planets in our solar system.

IMG_3236The inside of the planetarium contains all of the colour that the outside is missing.The middle of the observatory is taken up by a very large planetarium space. Front and center though, is the Foucault Pendulum.

We went in for a show inside the planetarium about the ‘end of the universe’ and our understanding of time. It wasn’t a long show or anything, but I was impressed with it. I haven’t ever been inside of a planetarium of this size, and the way it was rendered was just beautiful. I wish I could have taken photos (we weren’t allowed to).

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IMG_3254Bonus shot of a rich people neighborhood with a view somewhere near Malibu Beach.

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